CHAMPCAR/CART: Lexington: Fern?ndez Racing Friday qualifying report

Max Papis, Driver -- ...

Max Papis, Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex

Qualified: 16th 68.815 118.125 mph

"For the first day of working with Fernández Racing and Honda, we did quite a lot of work. Being back here at Mid-Ohio is great. I think we are on the right track even if it is not easy to start from zero. I inherited a different way of driving and a different way of approaching the car. I am looking forward to tomorrow and Sunday especially. We made a good step forward today, but unfortunately we are on the back of the grid at the moment. It is a completely different situation to be in a new car with a new team but I am proud of what I am doing and we are making good progress. I think we should be competitive come Sunday. Don [Halliday] and the crew know what they are doing and just a little bit more of being methodical is going to pay off.

"The road course setup here at Fernández has been a little bit difficult in the last few races and I could see, jumping in the car at the beginning, that the car was really not suiting my style. We are making progress even if it is not as easy as I was expecting. Definitely, being out of the car for two months, gave me a better idea because I don't have any preconceptions, but at the same time to get the right chemistry is not easy. It takes more than an hour and a half of practice."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his seventh Champ Car appearance at Mid-Ohio and his 105th Champ Car career start^Å made Champ Car career debut at Mid-Ohio in 1996 with Arciero-Wells Racing^Å Best finishes at Mid-Ohio were fourth in 2000 and fifth in 1999^Å Best starting position at Mid-Ohio was sixth in 2000^Å Scored podium finishes (third) in two of five races contested this season^Å Last race was the Bridgestone Grand Prix of Monterey on June 9^Å Has missed the past five Champ Car races due to Sigma Autosport's withdrawal from the series^Å has three career wins - Homestead (2000), Portland (2001) and Laguna Seca (2001)^Å claimed two career pole positions at Chicago (1999) and Portland (2001)^Å finished sixth in the championship last year^Å currently sits 16th in the championship with 32 points.

Shinji Nakano, Driver -- #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola/Bridgestone:

Qualified: 17th 69.031 117.756 mph

"My car was very nervous from the beginning of the session. We made changes and put on new tires and then there was a red flag. We have to do some work tonight, but I am confident that we can improve for tomorrow."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his third Champ Car appearance at Mid-Ohio and his 48th career Champ Car start ^Å Finished 18th at Mid-Ohio last year after starting 23rd^Å Started 20th in 1999 but spun on Lap 59 and was credited with 19th place^Å Has posted points-paying finishes in the past five events, including a career-best fourth-place finish at Toronto^Å has made 15 career road course starts, claiming three points-paying finishes^Å is in his third season of Champ Car competition, and second year with Fernández Racing^Å currently sits 15th in the championship with 33 points.

Tom Anderson, Co-Owner/Managing Director:

"I think it was a constructive day for Fernández Racing. Obviously it is a big change not having our leader here, and we are all wishing Adrián well. Hats off to Max. I think he did a tremendous job after jumping in a car after two months on the sidelines. I know that he will improve tomorrow after he and Don have a night to work together. Shinji is still coming to grips with Mid-Ohio. He doesn't have a good track record here and, as much as he has improved over the last four months of the season, I know that he is a lot more capable than what he has shown today. I'm sure that Martin and Shinji will correct that this evening."

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Max Papis , Shinji Nakano , Tom Anderson